The former Ferrari man, now enjoying a fresh start with Williams, sounds off about fish and chips, the world title that got away, and why stopping saying “for sure” is easier said than done
With one smooth movement, Felipe Massa hoists himself up onto the bar on the top oor of the Williams motorhome, where guests are usually served a variety of Martini-based cocktails. Or, in F1 Racing’s case, a substantial glass of chilled sparkling water on ice.
“So many questions,” says Felipe reectively, lifting the pile of cards between nger and thumb and peering under it, as if more questions might be concealed beneath.
He shouldn’t be too surprised at being the focus of all this interest, having enjoyed such a long and eventful career – an accident-prone apprenticeship at Sauber followed by a season on the sidelines, thence to Ferrari where he played Robin to Michael Schumacher’s Batman, a nipand-tuck ght for the drivers’ championship with Lewis Hamilton in 2008, injury following a horrifying accident at the Hungaroring in 2009, then a demeaning number-two role alongside Fernando Alonso. And now, rebirth at a similarly rejuvenated Williams.
At a phase in his career when he could reasonably be expected to be taking on an elderstatesman role, Felipe retains the cheeky chappie persona that marked him out when he burst on to the scene over a decade ago. That hasn’t changed – nor, it seems, has his famous habit of punctuating his sentences with “for sure”… How does it feel to be close to Sir Frank, who is a legend in Formula 1? Maria Cristina Severini, Argentina Honestly, Frank really is a legend. He has one of the most important and historic teams in Formula 1, and I’ve always wanted to drive for him, so I’m really happy to be part of his family. He has a big heart and a lot of experience. Would you wish your son to be F1 champion or football World Cup winner? Karel Belohuby, Czech Republic I love being a racing driver – it’s something I understand, you know? It would be nice to see my son racing in F1. But I think it’s easier to be a football player. The chance of becoming an F1 driver is lower and lower – you see so many drivers arriving just because they have money. I don’t want my son to suffer because of something that’s to do with his nancial situation rather than his talent. So maybe football is better. F1R: We hear Brazil may be looking for a new football team… FM: [Laughs uproariously] True, but it’s going to be a long time before he’s old enough! Has Rob Smedley ever introduced you to the delicacy from his hometown of Middlesbrough known locally as a ‘Parmo’? Charlotte Bowe, United Kingdom [Looking absolutely mystied] No… F1R: It’s a bit like a chicken schnitzel, according to Wikipedia. FM: Chicken escalope? Rob never really talks to me about where he comes from. [Laughs]